A great marketing program especially in the B2B context puts the customer at the heart of the business and is the central tenet of value marketing.
Value Based Marketing is about generating products and services which are rooted in the needs of the customer rather than the need of the company to sell its products / services.
In such businesses, it is essential to be ‘in tune’ with the needs of customers, rather than second guessing, a company must ensure that the voice of the customer is integral to the company strategy and that the customer orientation is not only discussed in boardrooms but also by the customer-facing employees, support functions and vendors/partners of the firm.
The evidence for making this cultural shift to leverage Customer Experiences is overwhelming
- Usually customers say a positive customer experience caused them to spend more;
- Customers are ready to pay a premium for a superior customer service;
- Customers who switch suppliers/brands relate this to a poor customer experience and service;
- More than half of those who recommend a company make this based on the customer experience rather than other factors such as price or product;
- Almost all of those who have had a bad customer experience tell others about it; mainly to warn them off or stop them buying from the supplier.
Savvy companies are delving further into the customer experience, placing it at the heart of all they do.
Some important questions for the organization in strategically managing the customer experience:
- How do we build organizational commitment to our customers?
- How do we deliver great customer experiences?
- How do we inspire staff to want to deliver great experiences?
- How do we support our customers’ needs and goals?
- How do we enrich the customer experience across touch-points?
What must various parts of the organization do to leverage customer experience?
- Managing and leveraging customer experience starts at the top. It requires commitment from the senior leadership to listening to the customer and embedding their needs and experiences into strategy.
- Break the silos– It is common in large organizations for the various departments and functions which touch the customer to operate in a ‘silo’ fashion.
- Investment of Time & Resources – Leveraging customer experience requires cross-functional involvement which cannot be achieved without senior leadership buy-in (and resources).
Although listening to the customers is a step in the right direction, it is the first step on a long journey which cannot be achieved overnight and which, most importantly, requires a change in culture and attitude rather than purely in process.